Sep 23, 2023

Critters And Clowns

Critters / Killer Klowns From Outer Space
Mahoning Drive-In Theater - Lehighton, PA

Friday and Saturday night at the drive-in was dedicated to the legendary special effects artists, The Chiodo Brothers, with all three men in attendance to meet fans, sign autographs, and judge the costume contest that was held on both nights.

Also in attendance was composer John Massari who scored Killer Klowns From Outer Space and is responsible for creating the music used in dozens of movies and television shows for the past forty years.  The Chiodo Brothers have also worked in the motion picture industry for the past forty years with their effects present in horror and comedy classics that I grew up with in the 80's and 90's, as well as in recent films, such as Marcel The Shell With Shoes On.

Show banner designed by Andrew Kern

Both Friday and Saturday night featured screenings of the only movie that The Chiodo Brothers have written, directed, and produced in addition to creating all of the characters and special effects: Killer Klowns From Outer Space.  However each night began with a different film for which the brothers created the special effects, with Ernest Scared Stupid showing on Friday night and Critters showing on Saturday night.  We were in attendance for 35mm screenings of Ernest Scared Stupid and Killer Klowns From Outer Space during the 2021 season, so we picked tonight because we had never gotten to see Critters at the drive-in before.

The poster for this weekend's show was designed by artist Andrew Kern.  It's a vertical variation of the banner artwork that was used to promote Chiodo-Con, and it features all four special guests as well as many of the characters from the films that were screened.

The special concession stand items for the weekend included the Killer Kotton Kandy Kokoon Burger.  I had this during the last screening of Killer Klowns and thought it was surprisingly good, and I thought the same thing this time.  We also had the Popcorn Bazooka, which was popcorn mixed with Hot Cheetos.

The t-shirt for this event was designed by artist Atom Lenhart of Hidden Hannya Tattoo in Lancaster.  It was available in black and tie-dyed (cotton candy).

The costume contest was held on the lawn and projected onto the big screen before the first movie of the night, with The Chiodo Brothers judging and handing out prizes to the winners.  All of the costumes were pretty awesome, but it was raining throughout the night, so we only got to see them on the screen from our car.

The first movie of the night was the 1986 horror/sci-fi classic: Critters.  It's one of those movies that everybody who grew up in the 80's and has ever been to a video rental shop is very familiar with, even if they haven't watched it.

I swear, they must have shipped this tape out to every store in the county that had a movie rental department.  It didn't matter if you were in the biggest Blockbuster Video in the country or at a gas station with two shelves of movies available to rent... if you went out to rent movies in the late 80's or early 90's, you saw this cover.

It's a fun movie to be sure, and definitely a must-watch for fans of 80's flicks.  If you haven't seen it, picture Gremlins if the monsters came from outer space and could both eat like Taz and roll themselves up into little balls like Sonic The Hedgehog.

Next up was a 35mm screening of the 1988 Chiodo Brothers classic: Killer Klowns From Outer Space.  This was my second time seeing it at the Mahoning, the first being two years ago at a Tunnel Vision Tuesday screening.  It's one of my all time favorites from my childhood.  I remember that my dad picked up the VHS for me as a Christmas present when we were living in Florida and I must have played it at least a hundred times when I was a teenager in the 90's.

They've merchandised the living hell out of this property in recent years, and while I'll admit that I'm pretty bored with all of the crap that get shoveled out onto shelves every Halloween, I don't think I could ever get sick of the movie itself.  It's a perfect blend of terror and silliness that never fails to bring a smile to my face.

And that's a wrap on Chiodo-Con.  Tomorrow night at the drive-in will be a 35mm screening of The Garbage Pail Kids Movie.  If it was any other time of year, I'd be in attendance for this because there aren't many things that I have fonder childhood memories of than the Garbage Pail Kids.  However, that fondness is for collecting the stickers and not so much for the movie, which is widely regarded as one of the worst movies ever made.  It falls into the "so bad it's good" category, but the screening also falls on the weekend of the Bloomsburg FairChiodo-Con was a can't miss event, but unfortunately, I'm going to have to take a pass on The GPK Movie... all those deep fryers in Bloomsburg are calling my name!